A rich, moist, fluffy and delectable red velvet cupcake topped with an amazing, sweet and smooth cream cheese icing. An easy recipe for any skill level.
What is Red Velvet?
If I had to describe red velvet cake and cupcakes, it would be a cross of traditional yellow cake and chocolate cake. Here’s the thing, it’s red, but that’s from food coloring. It has cocoa, so there’s the chocolaty flavor. But the chocolate doesn’t overwhelm. Instead, the buttermilk, cocoa, vinegar, butter and sugar all bake together with the rest of the traditional cake ingredients to make an unbelievably moist, rich and sweet cupcake. And to top things off, literally, we make the most delicious frosting which includes cream cheese, confectioners sugar, butter and vanilla. The final cupcake is a beautiful and delicious work of art. Perfect for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or any other occasion.
What is the History of Red Velvet Cake?
Red velvet cake is believed to have originated in the Victorian era. The word “velvet” was used as the descriptor. The red color is believed to have come from beetroot juices which were used in the World War II era. There’s some belief too that strawberries once provided the color, however, the red velvet cake we know today has no strawberry flavor or ingredients. Today, red food coloring is what gives red velvet it’s vibrant red color.
What do I Need to Make Red Velvet Cupcakes?
Making homemade red velvet cupcakes is actually very easy. If you have a stand mixer such as a Kitchen Aid, it will certainly be of help. But if all you have is an electric hand mixer, you’ll be just fine to make this recipe. A 12-cup muffin/cupcake pan is the only other special item you’ll need. If you want to put the icing on with those nice patterns, you can buy icing tips in most supermarket baking sections near the icing. For the icing pattern in the pictures of this recipe, the tip is labeled M1. You can cut the corner off of a standard zip top bag and insert the tip to make your very own piping bag. It’s actually a lot of fun to do. Of course, there’s no shame at all with just using a knife to load up the cupcake with the delicious frosting. And finally, you can put some sprinkles on top. Use red and green for Christmas cupcakes, red for Valentine’s Day cupcakes.
Making red velvet cupcakes is actually much easier than you might think. One thing that’s important is to make sure you use room temperature butter, eggs and buttermilk. Placing these ingredients on the kitchen counter for an hour should be just fine. The most important thing is to have the butter softened. You can always pop a stick of butter in the microwave for about 10 seconds to get it soft. For the icing, you’ll want to use softened cream cheese. Again, 10 seconds in the microwave will do the trick if you forget to leave it out.
For Red Velvet Cupcakes:
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter – softened
- 2 eggs (room temperature)
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon white vinegar
For Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8oz cream cheese – softened
- ½ cup unsalted butter – softened
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cupcake pan with liners and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients – flour (sifted), cocoa powder (sifted), corn starch, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and sugar and mix on slow to start, then medium until it’s well incorporated. Then add eggs, food coloring, vanilla extract and vinegar. Mix well.
- Now add half the dry mixture to the wet mixture, along with half the buttermilk. Mix well. Add remaining dry mixture and buttermilk and mix on medium until everything is well incorporated. Do not over mix. You’ve now got your cupcake better!
- Carefully fill each each cupcake liner ¾ full with batter. No more. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Test for doneness by placing a toothpick through center of cupcake. If toothpick comes out dry, they’re ready. If not, let them bake another couple of minutes. After baking is complete, remove pan and let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove cupcakes and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
To make Icing:
In a large bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in vanilla extract and then 1 cup of confectioners sugar. Mix on slow until sugar in incorporated. Then add 2nd cup of confectioners sugar, mix slow, then 3rd cup of confectioners sugar, and mix on slow. When all the sugar is well incorporated, mix on medium for 3-5 minutes. Add icing to cupcakes with a knife or a piping bag with an M1 tip. Go slowly in circles until top of cupcakes are covered. Add sprinkles as desired.